Ok, we all love bowling, but let’s face it – injuries happen. Here are some of the most common bowling injuries to watch out for, their treatment, and how you can prevent them.

Bowler’s Elbow

Bowler’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) is one of the most common injuries of bowling that can be caused by repeated movements of the wrist and elbow that gradually strains our entire arm. The tendons that attach to the inner side of the elbow are stressed by the motion caused while releasing the ball, which leads to inflammation and pain.

Little tendon tears from repeated tension may develop over time, exacerbating the discomfort and inflammation. Bowlers are also more likely to develop a bowler’s elbow if they grasp the ball too tightly, bowl with improper technique, or use a ball that is too heavy.

However, using things like Wrist braces can help to a great extent (In fact wrist braces can improve your bowling significantly! Initially when I got a brace, I was skeptical about using a brace and worried that it would hinder my performance. However, I was pleasantly surprised to see a significant improvement in my performance with the added support of the brace. If you’re curious about how a wrist brace can help you excel in bowling, consider reading this article that I wrote a while back and talked about my experience too.

Bowler’s Thumb

Bowler’s thumb is a common condition that affects many bowlers. It swells up the thumb and makes it sore. It is mostly seen in pro bowlers who try their best to spin the ball or bowl too hard thus hurting their fingers in the process of doing so.

Using a proper sized ball that fits according to your hand is super important. Using a ball that has a very small thumb hole can skyrocket the probability of getting a Bowler’s thumb.

To treat a bowler’s thumb, rest your thumb and put ice on it to reduce inflammation and pain. If your case is severe, a doctor may recommend physical therapy or a brace for extra support.

To prevent bowlers’ thumbs, stretch your hands and wrists before bowling and use proper technique. Get a good quality ball that fits well and has a comfortable thumb hole. Take breaks and rest your hands if they start to hurt.

Back Pain

If you’re not careful, you can strain your back from the improper form so having a proper form while throwing the ball is super important.

Maintain proper posture and rest if you feel pain. You can also Apply ice and take pain meds if you feel severe pain.

Wrist Ligament Tear

Gripping the ball too tightly or using a too-heavy bowling ball can cause wrist pain and can even cause a tear in your ligaments.

Shoulder tendonitis

Shoulder tendonitis is a common injury among bowlers, especially for those who frequently play or are new to the sport. The repetitive movement of the shoulder when swinging the ball can cause strain and inflammation in the tendons. One way that shoulder tendonitis can occur is by throwing the ball with too much force, putting extra stress on the shoulder joint.

Professional bowlers are less likely to develop this injury, as they typically have mastered the proper techniques and do not exert unnecessary force. However, new players and those who bowl frequently can be at risk of developing shoulder tendonitis.

To prevent this injury, it’s important to stretch before playing to prepare the arm muscles for the stress of strong swings.

Secondly, using proper technique and not overexerting oneself when throwing the ball can help reduce the risk of developing shoulder tendonitis. If pain or discomfort persists, seeking medical attention and taking a break from bowling can be necessary for proper recovery.

Learn more about prevention and treatment here.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, although infrequent, is a common injury that affects bowlers. The condition causes tingling, numbness, and weakness in the hand, fingers, or wrist, and can be attributed to the finger movement in the ball and swing in the wrist during throwing. It’s crucial to seek prompt medical diagnosis and treatment to manage this condition effectively.

Learn more about it here.

Knee Pain

The twisting motion you do while reaching the foul line can cause you some knee pain as well. And thus for that reason only, bowling is not very much recommended for arthritis patients.

Consider Wearing quality bowling shoes with good support and rest if you feel pain. A knee brace can also help.

General Causes of These Injuries

  • Poor technique
  • Poor Form while releasing the ball
  • Using a too-heavy bowling ball
  • Using an ill-fitted bowling ball

Prevent Bowling Injuries

Don’t worry about these injuries though – there are things you can do to prevent these injuries and keep enjoying bowling.

Warm Up

First things first: warm-up!

According to the studies done by National bowling academy and Olympic training center, it is considered a sport that requires dynamic warmups i.e getting your core and heartbeat ready.

So stretch out your muscles a bit before you start bowling, and try doing some very simple exercises like jumping jacks, lunges, arm and leg swings.

Proper Technique

Now once you’re ready to bowl, it’s time to focus on the technique.

When you’re bowling, having a proper form is very important. That means keeping your back straight, not bending your knees too much during the approach, and keeping your arm and wrist straight when you release the ball. Follow through with your shot to reduce strain on your body.

Use the Right Weight Bowling Ball

Using a ball that is too heavy for you can be the major reason for these injuries, on the other hand using a too-light bowling ball can make your bowling performance even worse. Thus finding that sweet spot becomes so important.

I have written an entire article that will guide you through and help you choose the right bowling ball weight that will boost your performance and help you prevent such injuries as well. It has a secret formula as well so make sure you check that out!

Use a Wrist Brace

A wrist brace can significantly help in the case of a Bowler’s thumb and can even improve your bowling performance by providing stability to your wrist.

Rest and recovery are important too 

If you’re tired or injured, take a break and let your body heal. Don’t push through the pain – that will only make things worse. If you’re in serious pain, see a doctor.

Summing up, bowling injuries are no joke. But if you use the proper technique you can prevent most injuries and keep bowling like a champ. Don’t let pain ruin your game – stay safe and have fun!

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